Mari Mathias

Mari Mathias grew up in the rural village of Talgarreg, just a stones throw away from the Ceredigion coastline. She sings in her native welsh tongue and puts her own contemporary take on traditional folk melodies. After releasing her first EP “Ysbryd y ty” in 2020 dedicated to her grandmother, she has now released her Debut album “Annwn” on March the 20th with Jigcal Records. The LP is a collection of unique folk songs inspired by traditional tales and melodies. This concept album infuses electronic sounds, field recordings, cinematic soundscapes with samples from her great-grandfathers cassette tapes, in which he recorded hours of home life and traditional songs.

Over recent years Mari has supported acts such as Gruff Rhys, Meic Stevens and Plu. She has performed everywhere from the St.Fagans Museum to HubFest, Immersed Festival, Clwb Ifor Bach, Swansea Fringe & The Big Cwtch. Her most recent single “Rebel” was awarded track of the week on BBC Radio Cymru & “Annwn” was played by Adam Walton on BBC Introducing, Radio Wales , where he stated “Absolutely jaw-dropping, just a sense of mythology and welsh folk music. It’s not an easy thing to do , to record something that evocative.”

Having graduated from the Forte Project, she is now performing with an exciting ensemble of young folk musicians on her new material.

Matthew Frederick

Matthew Frederick fuses an early love of classic singer-songwriters with more recent influences to create a distinctive and timeless blend of acoustic pop, indie folk, ballads and blues, plus a touch of Cymrucana and contemporary classical thrown in for good measure.

With headline shows in the UK, Europe and US under his belt, as well as fronting BBC Introducing favourites Climbing Trees, the Rhondda Valley musician has released five albums, two EPs and sixteen singles to date across a number of projects since his 2012 debut solo EP Venus & Mars, with tracks being picked up by the likes of Netflix, Sky and ITV along the way.

Alongside numerous festival (Green Man, The Hay Festival) television (BBC, S4C) and radio (BBC Radio 1, 6 Music) appearances, Frederick has also recorded at London’s iconic Maida Vale Studios, performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and was shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize following the release of the Trees’ much-anticipated and critically-acclaimed Borders.

Spawning five singles in total, Frederick’s debut solo studio album Fragments was released via Staylittle Music a fortnight into the UK’s first Lockdown, a record on which he plays each and every instrument. Country-tinged lead single Tell Me was playlisted by the BBC as well as gaining airplay from Amazing Radio, while the late-summer haze of Hay-on-Wye quickly became his most-streamed track on Spotify. The delicate nostalgia of piano-led Pink Blossom Snow was followed by an ambitious quest to find every Laura Jones across the globe, before latest offering and long-time live favourite Leave The Light On rounded off an unusual 2020 with a first solo spin on BBC Radio 1, courtesy of fellow Welshman and new music enthusiast Huw Stephens.

An eventful 2021 witnessed the long-awaited return of the Trees with standalone single Troubling Times as well as a spontaneous sixty-six day expedition which saw Frederick become the first man from Penygraig to walk the coast of Wales – the seeds of a second solo album springing forth en route – before rounding the year off on keys for Martin Carr of The Boo Radleys, with a nineteen-date UK tour stopping off at a sold out Brixton Academy as part of The Charlatans’ 30th Anniversary Tour.

“So good… So beautiful… So pretty” Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1

Bookhouse

A four piece bedroom band hailing from rural North Wales, Bookhouse is a band shaped by the forests and mountains that surround them. Combining influences of krautrock, space rock and shoegaze, Bookhouse’s music washes over the listener with a barrage of hypnotic rhythms, noisy synth glitches and ethereal soundscapes.

“This UK experimental krauty psychedelic band that remind me of why music is exciting. These songs are free of giving a f*** about being accessible to anyone. Traces of Amon Dual II, Neu, Ash Ra Temple but with a blender turning off and on, going in different direction. Feel it.”
Tone Bursting

“Impressively whacked-out psychedelic rock. Eferwad y Tonnau Gwyn features four tracks, including ones of 14 and 21 minutes in length, and has a nice line in both guitar-centred Krautrock ravers and abstract FX gloop. Mint!” Buzz Magazine

Altameda (AB, Canada)

“Bought a dead man’s suit in Denver / Then I wore it onstage,” sings Altameda’s Troy Snaterse, his voice drifting out over a bed of slowly shifting piano and synth chords. “Got me thinking about impermanence / How everything dies with age.”

Like much of Altameda’s stunning new album, Born Losers, the line is at once simple and profound, a visceral snapshot of a moment in time that speaks to something far deeper about the human condition. Recorded with acclaimed producer Thomas D’Arcy (Neko Case, The Sheepdogs) and mixed by studio wiz Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Whitney, REM), Born Losers is a meditation on change, loss, and growth, but more than that, it’s a reckoning with mortality, a call to live while we’re still alive. The band recorded the album after moving from Edmonton to Toronto, and Snaterse wrote much of the lyrics during a tumultuous stretch in which he nearly lost his father to a stroke, only to lose his 18-year-old stepbrother just weeks later in a tragic accident. The resulting emotional upheaval permeates the music in ways both painful and transcendent, with raw, candid performances often arriving wrapped inside gorgeous, gently atmospheric arrangements. Where past Altameda records showcased the sound of a rock and roll band cutting loose live in the studio, Born Losers is an exercise in craftsmanship and restraint, one that relies on subtlety over brute force as it learns to let go and fully embrace the present.

Mali Hâf

Delegates only show: Introducing Cardiff’s Mali Hâf

TeiFi

TeiFi – with her “Rude Grooves and Smooth Loops” is a chameleon – funny, bawdy, Welsh-English rap, soulful vocals, lush harmonies, and a bit of dance thrown – joined by her onstage crew from the TeifiVerse. Singing about bodies, death, motherhood, nature, and colonialism; she has a passion for languages and for Cymru. Composing and producing using loop station, vocal beats, nature sounds and dog noises.

Hazel & Grey

Hazel & Grey are a Welsh duo comprising of Climbing Trees frontman Matthew Frederick and his better half, Caysha Leigh. Currently writing and recording debut EP Blackwater Hollow, their first single The House is set for release via Staylittle Music later in 2022.

Izzie Walsh

“So original and individual, Izzie Walsh” Bob Harris: BBC Radio 2

Parisa Fouladi

Parisa Fouladi is a Welsh Iranian singer from Cardiff. In that ‘rare groove’ tradition Parisa Fouladi’s music exudes Soul, Capital ‘S’. Gorgeous laid-back soulful vocals laid over cool minimal beats. Parisa is currently working on her debut EP, set for release in Spring 2022.

Awst

Awst is a new solo project by Cynyr Hamer (Worldcub / Hippies Vs Ghosts / We Are Animal). The project was born after a busy summer of writing and recording new songs in 2020, with the intention of eventually creating several mini albums. These materials are recorded on a Tascam digital machine, and generally try to stick to the ‘first takes’ to try and bring the spontaneous element to the music. Awst’s songs are crafted from acoustic melodies, chilled drum beats, layerd with dreamy guitars and horn sections. The project is in its infancy but already the tracks ‘Send a Sign to the Satellite’, ‘Lloeren’ and ‘Haul Olaf’ have been warmly received on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.

She’s Got Spies

She’s Got Spies is the project of Laura Nunez and her cast of collaborators. She spends her time between Cardiff and London, she’s multilingual and can sing in Welsh, English and Russian. The music is indie pop with dark psych tinged sounds. ‘Isle of Dogs’, the follow up album to Welsh-language debut ‘Wedi’ was released in November 2020 and received airplay on BBC6 Music.

They have recorded sessions for BBC Radio Cymru as well as having performed and been broadcast on Welsh television channel S4C. The band have performed live including festivals such as Indietracks, National Eisteddfod and Wales Goes Pop. This, as well as appearances in more far flung places including Russia, Bulgaria, Italy and even on an Antarctic expedition ship. Live band members include Gareth Middleton on guitar and Mel Beard on keyboard / bass, with Isle of Dogs featuring Gruff Meredith (MC Mabon), Frank Naughton, Pixy Jones (El Goodo) and Andy Fung (Derrero).

Cor DAW

Cor DAW stands for Dysgwyr Ardal Wrecsam- Wrexham area learners of Welsh, and was formed by Pam Evans-Hughes in 2011 to compete in the learners section of the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham. The main aim of the choir is to have fun learning and performing medleys in welsh, such as Abba, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and the Jersey Boys medleys. Over the years, the choir have been privileged to perform at Venue Cymru Llandudno, Chester Cathedral, the Millenium Centre Cardiff, Saith Seren in Wrexham and of course Focus Wales!!!

Eve Goodman

Eve Goodman is a singer-songwriter from North Wales, who writes and performs in English and Welsh. Her music is rooted in her sense of place. Carried by a clear voice, Eve weaves in the natural world and the beauty surrounding her. Her lyrics reveal a deep connection to what it is to be human in these troubled, inspiring times. From swimming in lakes and finding her voice, to letting her tears be washed by the ocean, her songs are bound by themes of collective human experiences, and our relationship to the wildness within us.

Eve has released three EPs to date and is currently recording her debut album. With a captivating and unflinching honesty, the album is a deeply personal meditation on loss. Eve shines her light on bottomless grief and unanswered questions; despite it all, these raw yet beautiful songs take us on a journey towards finding joy again. From house gigs and festival campfires, to The Dubai World Expo, The Houses of Parliament and Celtic Connections festival, Eve’s captivating stage presence is a gift she carries with her wherever she goes. 

Morgan Elwy

Morgan Elwy. Welsh Folk-Rock Reggae Artist Cymraeg

Amelia Coburn

Since being nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards, Teesside’s Amelia Coburn has travelled and worked in Mexico, France and Russia and used the inspiration of the places and people she encountered to inform her unique brand of neo-folk. Drawing on European folk music and Tin Pan Alley jazz, Amelia’s distinctive voice is a captivating tool in her musical storytelling and she writes highly evocative, narrative driven tales of, amongst other subjects, vengeful widows, sleep paralysis and staying up all night in Dublin. Voted as UKE Magazine’s Best Breakthrough Artist 2021, she has gained national airplay in the UK and beyond, including BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and RTÉ 1.

From supporting the late folk legend Vin Garbutt to Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and indie rock band The Wedding Present, the roll call of people she has shared a stage with shows the diversity of her appeal. With previous performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Costa del Folk and Czech Ukulele Festival under her belt, a clutch of new songs set for release across 2022 will see her establish herself further as one to watch for years to come.

“A fabulous voice, beguiling stage presence”Mark Radcliffe, Radio 2
“Absolutely genius!” Tom Robinson, 6Music
“Amelia’s is a voice that needs to be heard”RnR Magazine

Ben & Dom

Ben & Dom are an a cappella singing duo from South London. Ben takes the high notes and Dom takes the low notes (most of the time). The intricate blend of their harmonies comes from a close friendship and shared love of singing together. Ben & Dom weave their voices around songs old and new, performing original material alongside new interpretations of folk songs. Their lyrics touch on friendship, nature and what it means for two men to sing together in this modern day.

Ben & Dom are part of the EFEx mentoring scheme for 21/22. They will be performing at Focus Wales, Cambridge Folk Festival & the EFEx showcase. In April 2022 the duo will launch their debut EP ‘Shoulder’ and will be performing the project around the UK. The duo are also working towards their first full length album for release in early 2023.

Georgie Buchanan

Singer, harpist, story spinner and balladeer, Georgie Buchanan is a unique voice in the folk scene dedicated to creating music that that tenderly invites the listener to connect more deeply with an ancient sense of place, community and relationship with the natural world

Throughout her career she’s built a diverse audience and performed around the UK. Highlights have included being selected for Sound and Music’s highly competitive New Voices Programme, performing with Show of Hands on the main stage of Sidmouth Folk Festival with her folk duo Georgie and Phoebe and one her original songs ‘Love is a Rocking Wave’ being selected for The Nest Collective’s ‘Singing with Nightingales, Homecoming Broadcast’ hosted by Sam Lee which was listened to by an audience of thousands. Georgie has most recently been selected to take part in the English Folk Expo’s Artist Mentoring Programme and she will perform at Cambridge Folk Festival, Manchester Folk Festival and FOCUS Wales in 2022.

This year Georgie is set to transport audiences on a journey through folk, fantasy, song and story with her debut album Wise as a Fool – a unique tapestry of traditional folk song, original compositions, haunting harmonies and lyrical lullaby. You can expect intimate vocals, haunting harmonies, resonant harp, grounding bass lines on cello, soaring melodies on flute, virtuosic mandolin and guitar and endless percussive possibilities. Highlights include singing with the wind in her harp strings and the calling of geese in the air at St Aidan’s RSPB nature reserve and calling in the ancient goddess St Bríd through tribal drumbeats and crunching harmonies.

This project will be a unique collaboration between Georgie and incredible Leeds based artists Emma Coleman (Me and My Friends), Rob Mackay (Drymbago), Evan Davies (The Often Herd), Joel Stedman and Joe Love (Ancient Infinity Orchestra).

Art d’Ecco (BC, Canada)

An all-new Art d‘Ecco movement is imminent; defiantly maximalist and nostalgic in style, After The Head Rush is the latest dynamic release from the British Columbia-based audiophile expressionist. Combining the addictive dazzle and rebellious party of his last album In Standard Definition, with the dizzying effect of what happens in the late-hours once everyone’s gone home, After the Head Rush arrives like a confessional, chock-full of swagger and disarming candor. Infused with belated coming-of-age wisdom it sparks the dawn of a new era – inspired by a move to his hometown and the thrill of rediscovering the music of his youth.

“Returning home as an adult, after being away almost 20 years – before all the travel, touring, and living – put a spell on me. It had me constantly framing and reframing the memories, moving emotional goalposts to better suit my current needs. Asking myself “are you happy? Is life everything you hoped and dreamed it would be?”

An unapologetic ode to the audacity and playful cynicism of growing up, After The Head Rush emerges like the shadow of a sundial cast between two time zones – one in the past, and one in the present. D’Ecco’s goal was to face down this new reflection by translating its gaze; what emerged is a paradoxical elixir providing comfort as the varnish begins to wear off. “The highs and the come down is a line I’m constantly tip-toeing,” d’Ecco tells, “I feel better having gone through it. That said, I’m prone to reframing memories to the positive, even if in the moment, I felt quite differently. I crave that romanticism.”

The experience bled into d’Ecco’s obsessive production methods and unlocked a newfound sense of freedom in his writing as the ideas revealed themselves with one simple mission: “Maximalism!” he declares. “I wanted to produce a big, bright, sparkly album. Along the lines of something you hear in a Tears For Fears or Peter Gabriel record, or something Bob Clearmountain would have mixed in the ‘80s.”

With the album’s bed tracks recorded at the legendary Hipposonic Studios (formerly Little Mountain Studios) in Vancouver, d’Ecco was able to harvest its iconic rock sound where history seeps from the walls. The arrangements were filled out on proven home turf at Hive Studios in Victoria alongside key local talent, before d’Ecco carried his newest creation to Montreal, ready for mixing with Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire); “an expert at creating space within the mix.”

Surgically precise, yet cheeky and playful, it’s shrewdly intentional; cautionary nods to coping mechanisms so easy to cling to are set to the throbbing backbone of polyrhythms and infectious melodies, whilst swaggering basslines with fever dream synths juxtapose anxiety and resolution to create an atmosphere for catharsis in one moment – and unease the next. Take the snake oil seeping from “Palm Slave”, or the self-aware cautionary tale, whispered from the front seat of time machine “I Was a Teenager”. “Until the Sun Comes Up” sends a toxic love letter to the bratty version of you with a heavy dose of “screw it” once shit becomes too damn catchy. “Midlife Crisis” meanwhile, nods to both the mid-30s gumption and world-worn sarcasm of Ric Ocasek, and a weighted blanket of dehydrated anxiety that’s impossible to shake no matter how much coconut water you drink.

With life in this album around every turn, each track is a new morning after; warm and comforting odes to hope in the form of the Bonnie and Clyde top-down freedom of “Run Away”, the familiarity of tandem self-medication in “SAD Light Disco”, and the stentorian, devoted howl of “Only Ones”. Apt then, now is the moment d’Ecco has chosen to shed his recognizable visage for an unflinching, authentic reality check.

When d’Ecco humbly purrs “Day Fevers was an album of mine so long ago”, as if offered in passing to a stranger while at the bar waiting for drinks, you hear the mic drop on the d’Ecco we once knew. You double-take to see this raw soul, whose once raven bob cut has become a naked shock of white-blond with unwavering eye contact, refusing you to ignore the present moment. You sit and begin to relish wisdom in the come down, and the unvarnished freedom in the reflection you earned after losing time in the smoke machine.

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